Battle of the Bulge

Battle of the Bulge (1965)

24 mistakes

(4 votes)

Factual error: None of the German tanks are accurate representations of German WWII types. They are all post war US variants. ie. M47 Patton Tanks. [Still a mistake, but an elaboration: This is a common problem in depicting German tanks: few, if any, survived the war. The few museum examples wouldn't be released for movie work, and certainly WHERE, some 20 years after the war, would one find a brigade's worth of running Tiger II tanks? Never mind that Kampgruppe Pieper, which Hessler's command is loosely based on, actually used Mark IV and Panther tanks. There was one King Tiger battalion, and it was in reserve well behind KG Peiper. The M47s versus the M24 Chafees (mistakenly called "Shermans" at times) is a fairly accurate comparison of the respective sizes, firepower, and other combat capabilities of the respective tanks. Some other movies, like "Kelly's Heroes", have their "Tigers" mocked-up with sheet metal, wire mesh, and sacking over a different type of tank (in that case, T-34/85s of the Yugoslav army are mocked up as Tiger Is, a fairly decent job).]

Continuity mistake: Near the beginning, Lt. Col. Daniel Kiley is in a scout plane and flies over Col. Martin Hessler, who is in a German staff car below. Kiley tells the pilot to "rev the engine" just above the car to entice Hessler to look up at them, so he can get a good photograph of his face. The plan works, and the ground level movie camera shows Hessler looking up. When the "photo from the air" is later developed, it shows Hessler looking up from the ground level camera's perspective, eyes focused about 30 degrees behind the airplane and giving a profile of Hessler.

Factual error: In the final scene showing the retreating German army, the land they are travelling over is fairly flat and devoid of trees. The Battle of the Bulge was fought in the thickly forested and hilly Ardennes Forest.

Continuity mistake: In the scene where Col. Hessler is visited by a courtesan, he refuses her "services", opens the door and hands her her fur coat. In the next shot, the door is closed again and the colonel still has the courtesan's fur coat.

Factual error: All of the jeeps used by American forces are of post-war design - most probably CJ-3 (M38) models - recognisable by their one-piece windscreens. Some of them have been modified to somewhat resemble the WW2 model by moving the spare wheel to the rear, but most of them still have the spare fitted to the side further identifying them as post-war models.

david barlow

Factual error: During the scene (near the end of the film) in which Col. Hessler's tanks attack a hilltop fuel depot, American GI's counterattack by rolling burning 55 gallon gasoline drums at the German tanks. When one of the burning drums hit Col. Hessler's tank, the tank IMMEDIATELY explodes and its turret blows off. The blowing off of the turret indicates that something inside the tank (most likely the ammunition) exploded. However, in order for a burning gasoline drum to cause such an explosion, the burning gasoline has to heat the interior of the tank to make it hot enough for the ammunition inside to explode.

Audio problem: In the opening, Lt. Col. Daniel Kiley is following the German staff car in the scout plane. As the car swerves back and forth on the gravel road, you hear the tires squealing. This would not happen on such a road.

Factual error: The "German" halftracks are all in fact American halftracks painted in German colours. The vehicles used by the two sides looked very different.


Factual error: The American vehicles (jeeps, trucks) in many scenes are painted in 1960s camo of the Spanish army, who loaned some of the vehicles for filming.

Factual error: The US spotter plane used in the film is a Cessna Birddog, the prototype of which first flew in 1949.

Factual error: The Malm├ędy Massacre was not carried out by specially-prepared machine-guns hidden in the back of trucks, but by the guards surrounding the prisoners.


Deliberate mistake: In the scene inside General Kohler's command center when Kohler is giving Colonel Hessler a tour of the war room he points out to Hessler a clock on the wall whose increments represent 1 hour and that the attack has to be over within so many hours. Later in the movie, just when the attack starts, this dormant clock's hand immediately springs forward and ticks through 2 increments, thus representing 2 hours passing in 2 seconds.

Continuity mistake: When the German saboteurs dressed in American MP uniforms jump out of their plane, all the parachutes are black, except two that are white. When the scene cuts to those soldiers on the ground gathering their parachutes to hide them, they are ALL white.

Revealing mistake: In the scene where a tank is being pushed to the side by another, it's clear the tanks are miniatures.

Factual error: The German panzergrenadiers follow the tanks on foot right from the beginning of the advance. Panzergrenadiers were armoured infantry and travelled in halftracks, only dismounting to fight. Even ordinary infantry advancing with tanks would have used trucks - to do otherwise would have slowed the tanks down to a crawl and rendered them ineffective. There was a shortage of fuel in the Ardennes campaign, but the panzergrenadiers did use vehicles during the advance (except for a couple of battalions which used bicycles).


Other mistake: The camera focus is on Lt. Weaver during the German armor attack, but off to his left (barely in the scene) Sgt. Duquesne drops a live rifle grenade as he is foolishly flipping them in the air before securing them to his rifle and firing them at the Germans.


Other mistake: One of General Grey's orderlies begins to leave the room before he even issues the order for the orderlies to vacate the room.


Factual error: When he meets the general at the beginning of the film, Hessler refers to Conrad as "my corporal". He actually wears the rank insignia of an Unterfeldwebel, equivalent to a sergeant in the British Army and a staff sergeant in the US Army.


Other mistake: When Col. Kiley (Henry Fonda) shoots at Kessler with a M1 Garand, the rifle is missing the rear peep sight.

Col. Martin Hessler: They have the fuel and planes to fly Cake over the Atlantic Ocean.
Col. Martin Hessler: Do you know what this means?

More quotes from Battle of the Bulge

Trivia: The tank models used by the German commanders at their headquarters look just like the actual King Tiger and Sherman tanks used by both sides during the late part of the war, whereas the tanks used in the film look nowhere near like actual German and American tanks used during the battle.


More trivia for Battle of the Bulge

Question: What is the English translation of the panzer song when Hessler meets his commanders?

Answer: I believe that in the film, the men are repeatedly singing only the first verse. However, I have found the complete translation of all five verses and posted it here: "The Panzer Song (Panzerlied) " 1: Whether in storm or in snow /Whether the sun smiles on us/ The day blazing hot /Or the night ice cold/ Our faces are dusty/ But our spirits are cheerful /Yes, our spirits are cheerful/ Our tank roars Into the windstorm. 2: With thundering engines /As fast as lightning/ We engage the enemy/ Safe in our tanks/ Far ahead of our comrades /In battle we stand alone/ Yes, stand alone Into enemy territory. 3: If an enemy tank /Appears in our sight /We ram throttles full/ And close with the foe! /We give our lives freely /For the army of our realm/ Yes, the army of our realm/ To die for Germany Is our highest honour. 4: With barriers and tanks/ Our opponent tries to stop us /We laugh at his efforts/ And travel around them/And when the guns threatingly/ Hide in the yellow sand/ Yes, in the yellow sand/ We search for paths /No-one else has found. 5: And if some day /Faithless luck abandons us /And we can't return home/ The deadly bullet strikes/ And fate calls us /Yes, fate calls us /Then our tank is An honourable grave. Source:

Michael Albert

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